Autocar has learned that Alfa Romeo is planning to replace the defunct 166 with a new large saloon – and company bosses are determined to source a rear-wheel drive platform for the car.
The car would act as a flagship model for the range, although Alfa’s new policy of naming rather than numbering models means it’s unlikely to carry the ‘169’ tag that previous speculation had suggested.
One option is to use the Maserati Quattroporte chassis, although the expense of this would limit potential sales volumes. But Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has already suggested that the new big Alfa could be based around the Jaguar XF chassis.
That’s not as outlandish as it sounds. Fiat Auto has a close connection with Tata (which owns Jaguar) because boss Ratan Tata sits on the Fiat board. And we know that Fiat-Jaguar co-operation has been discussed at senior level, because Fiat’s finance arm will replace Ford Credit as the source of finance for JLR’s dealers.
This tie-up could go further. While Alfa using the Jaguar XF chassis makes perfect sense, Jaguar’s other world-class aluminium rear-drive platforms would also be the logical underpinnings for future versions of Fiat Auto’s flagship cars, the Maserati Quattroporte and Coupe models.